Former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) stars in a new ad making the conservative case for the legalization of same-sex marriage, as a federal appeals court prepares to take up the issue.
"I was raised here, Cody, Wyoming," says Simpson in the spot. "It was a town of western values: independence, freedom. I'm a Republican and the party's basic core is government out of your life and the right to be left alone. Whether you're gay or lesbian or straight, if you love someone, and you want to marry them, marry them."
"I have had a wonderful married life, why shouldn't somebody else have the joy of marriage? Live and let live," he adds. "It is very simple."
The 30-second spot is being released by Freedom to Marry. According to the group, the ad will begin airing Tuesday on national cable and network Sunday political shows in Washington, D.C., and in Colorado, Oklahoma and Wyoming markets.
"Speaking as a conservative, a lifelong Republican, and a son of the West, Senator Simpson talks of his values of freedom and limited government and the joy of marriage, Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson said in a statement. "The ad shows the bipartisan momentum for the freedom to marry. And recent rulings against marriage discrimination by nine out of nine federal district judges show the legal trajectory of our campaign: toward more freedom, more dignity, and more families enjoying equality under the law."
Last month, Simpson joined a group of Republicans in filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the 10th Circuit in support of the freedom to marry. The 10th Circuit took up the issue after federal judges in Utah and Oklahoma struck down the states' constitutional bans on marriage equality.
There is growing support in the Republican Party for marriage equality, especially amongst the younger generation. But at the federal level, candidates and lawmakers have been slow to move with the grassroots.